After seeing the devastation caused by the railway disaster in Lac-Mégantic, Quebec earlier this summer, city officials want to make sure a similar tragedy doesn’t happen in London.

Instead of working with each group separately, Mayor Joe Fontana hosted emergency-response personnel and railway and transportation officials at a group meeting to talk about preventing disasters and responding to them.

Police, EMS, fire, the hospitals, environmental services, and any other group that would respond in case of an emergency were represented at the meeting Thursday afternoon in Byron at Fire Station 12.

The two hour meeting was held in the same rooms used by city officials to monitor emergency situations within London. Throughout the session, officials discussed both their plans for emergency response and accident prevention. The discussion mainly focused on response protocols related to a large-scale incident, such as a derailment, or a large-scale traffic accident involving a train.

Mayor Joe Fontana said with more than 100 trains passing through London every day, special attention needs to be paid to those measures.

He told reporters after the session the talks were very productive.

“I think after today, we understand each others’ roles a lot more. We understand what needs to be done proactively at the front end as well in the event of an emergency,” Fontana said.

“This is a discussion that will continue through committees of council, through public engagement.”

London Police Chief Brad Duncan said the meeting was a good opportunity to look at the plans each agency has in place and look for ways to streamline them.

“We heard how the train industry is prepared, we’ve heard about their operation plans and when we look at what we do here as a community it’s clear that we’re very focused on the same outcome,” Duncan said.

“We were able to demonstrate that if an incident happens, all of our collective response is very similar.”

With files from Jess Brady

via (CFPL AM) AM 980